Monthly Archives: September 2015

Long live the Proscan

Published by:

So the Vizio is completely dead, I received a new 39″ Proscan as a gift from my wonderful girl friend. We are back in business. I notice that the Proscan starts much quicker than the Vizio. It’s a nice TV with a mimimalistic surround. It looks good and sounds good too. – I am very happy with it.

I hooked up my old Roku 1 box to it and now I can watch Netflix and Plex with no issues.

RIP the Vizio TV

Published by:

So today the Vizio TV has died. I think it’s a power supply issue. The clue was that the white light is not coming on anymore. It appears that the on/off button is no longer working. I saw a YouTube video that showed someone replacing the power supply but I am not sure that’s something I can do economically. I can get a new smart telly for $200 or a power supply for $35 then it may not work… I  may take the telly apart and see if I can test it with my meter to make sure it’s the power supply. It will be interesting to see what’s broken.

Linux Stuff

Published by:

I have been a proponent of Linux for a long time. I love that the distros have become so complete and easy to use. It amazes me that the Linux desktop hasn’t penetrated the business world any further than it has. It is such an easy to use and stress free product.


When it was first around, Linux was a difficult platform because many things just didn’t work, you had to tinker with it to make it work in a way that you wanted then the dreaded update would come and break everything. Those days are long gone. Now, my Plex server is an Ubuntu LTS version. It sits there happily doing its thing and updates can be applied remotely.

I also run my MythTv on the same Linux box, it runs flawlessly and is easy to maintain. I can also access my Linux machine through SSL remotely from anywhere. This means if I want to make an update I can.

There is a webserver running on that server, I just use it to provide a place to launch everything else. It makes remembering what’s where much easier.

Vizio TV update

Published by:

So today the TV seems to be getting worse, now not only does the remote not work but I couldn’t switch the TV off, I had to unplug it from the power. – I am not sure what could be causing it. I am wondering if its worth putting any time and money into this TV (it’s about 7 years old) or if I should just bite the bullet and get a new smart TV. That would give me a better TV with Netflix and Plex built in. I have looked at the Roku TV too, that would be interesting.


I don’t use anything but streaming on that TV so there is no worry about connecting cable or satellite to it. I am working really hard on ditching cable. I am keeping a close eye on SlingTV if they would just add Nicktoons I would be on it like white on rice!


I have a drone

Published by:

I have a cool little drone, it’s a Parrot Rolling Spider. It is fun to fly, there’s an app that you run on your phone to control it.

The only problem I have with most of the drones out there today is their batteries only last for 8-10 minutes, that is about just enough time to get the controls down.

My little guy is really an indoor drone, I took it out in the wind once and it was blown out of the sky in seconds. You can take pictures from above with it. The camera is not very good but works. I am currently trying to get it to upgrade but it keeps yelling at me. I will figure it out and put some details on here so I can remember how I did it for next time.


That’s my little guy right there. You can remove the wheels but if it crashes and you don’t have the wheels on it’s likely you will break the propellers.


Connecting my Rocksmith to my guitar amp

Published by:

When I first got Rocksmith (RS) I was trying to figure out the best way to hear me playing along with the backing track. I started out just listening the PC speakers but to be honest, they were lack luster. I then switched to headphones, they protect everyone else from my noise and they all me hear everything but, they were literally making me deaf. After playing my ears would be ringing (I know I could turn it down but then you don’t get the same feeling). So, eventually I got my VOX guitar amp out and set up my computer output to go straight into my amp.

The VOX amp has all kinds of built in effects but RS has the effects built in so I just wanted to amplify the output clean. I set the VOX up to do that and now when I play I hear my guitar with the RS effects and the backing music and lyrics all through my amp. Of course with my amp, I can make it much louder than I need it so I try to manage that carefully so as not to shake everything off the shelves!

The setup is pretty simple, I connect the RS realtone cable from my guitar and into the computer as normal. I have a cable that runs from the computers headphone jack to the guitar amp input (1/8 to 1/4). I bought a cable to do this that is long enough to reach between the two without issues. – I know this is just using the amp as a glorified PC speaker but it works for me. I also have a cable splitter that will allow me to cable to the computer and separately to the guitar amp. This gives me the guitar sound coming from the amp and the RS sound coming from the computer. The problem for me is then I have to create effects to make my guitar sound the way it should for each song. Although that sounds like fun, it will take way more time than if I just work the way I have it now.

Smoke Detectors on the fritz

Published by:

So that beeping started and sure enough it was 3am – the first sign that my smoke detectors needed a new battery, so I thought. On further inspection it appears that they were starting to malfunction. I went on line an took a look at the cost to replace the whole lot with similar detectors that would work with the existing wiring. I found the replacements and sure enough they are really easy to take the old one off and replace it with a very similar one. We replaced 6 of them all for about $70 – Not too bad to provide safety devices for the whole family in case of a fire.

Rocksmith fun and games

Published by:

One of my favorite things to do is play my guitar. When I play, I usually play a video game from UbiSoft called Rocksmith.

This is not an ordinary video game, for starters it uses a real guitar. Essentially you plug your guitar in to the computer using a special “realtone” cable. This takes my analog guitar sound and turns it into a signal that the computer can read.

The game is very full featured, it has several ways to learn and play guitar and bass. The learn a song part is similar to the Guitar Hero presentation. There is a note highway that send down notes for you to play, if you play them all on time you are playing the song (lead or rhythm). The ingenious part of this, it uses a thing called dynamic difficulty. It will present a subset of the notes from that song to you the first time through. Depending how well you do with that it will start to give you more notes and based on your score it will continue to make it more difficult until you are playing the whole song. – A brilliant way to coach you through learning a song without having a real live teacher.

Continue reading

Vizio TV remote stopped working

Published by:

I have had my Vizio VW37L HDTV40A for a long time but don’t really watch it much as it’s in the bedroom.

With no warning what so ever it decided that the remote would not work. – I thought that was odd so I immediately changed the batteries and confirmed that there was nothing in the way of the IR receiver on the TV itself.

I noticed that I could still change the channels from the TV but nothing would work with the remote. I tried installing a universal remote on my phone and tried all the suggested models still nothing. It makes me think that the TV IR receiver may have stopped working.

I tried to reset the TV, that made no difference so I went into the setup wizard, it started but then requires a remote to get to the next screen so now I was stuck with no remote and my TV in the setup wizard. – That’s a little frustrating. I researched online and someone suggested powering on the TV with the button on the side of the TV then immediately hitting the menu button and holding it until the screen comes on. This gets me back to be able to watch TV with no remote control. However, every time I switch the TV on I have to go through this same procedure or it defaults into the set up wizard and I am stuck again.

Continue reading